News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Campaign backs ban on direct advertising of medicines

Choosing Wisely campaign backs ban on direct to consumer advertising of medicines

The New Zealand Choosing Wisely campaign is joining Consumer NZ and others in calling for a ban on the advertising of prescription medicines to consumers. Choosing Wisely encourages consumers and health professionals to discuss whether a particular test, treatment or procedure is needed, before going ahead with it. The campaign is sponsored by the Council of Medical Colleges, PHARMAC and Southern Cross, with partners Consumer NZ and the Health Quality & Safety Commission.

A recent survey by Consumer NZ found:

• 57 percent of Kiwis supported an ad ban, in favour of a health information service that provided independent advice about treatment options

• The majority (59 percent) didn’t think drug company ads gave them unbiased and comprehensive information

• Over half strongly agreed drug companies were likely to spend most money advertising medicines that gave them the most profit.

New Zealand and the United States are the only two developed countries in which this type of advertising is completely legal.

Choosing Wisely facilitator Sue Ineson says direct to consumer advertising can lead to increased costs, inappropriate prescribing, overtreatment and harm caused by treatment.

‘Branded medications may cost significantly more than generic medications or non-drug therapy, so can lead to increased costs for consumers who could have been prescribed cheaper options.

“It can also lead to inappropriate prescribing as doctors may feel pressured by patients to prescribe certain medications. Sometimes these are prescribed instead of other options such as healthy eating or increased physical activity.”

She says a third problem with this sort of advertising is that it can lead to overtreatment and harm caused by treatment.

“In the US, the Food and Drug Administration – which is the regulator of direct to consumer advertising in that country, has warned several pharmaceutical companies that their sponsored links on search engines were misbranded because they did not provide statements about adverse effects.”

Sue Ineson says it is important consumers and health professionals have good discussions about the best care or treatment for a condition.

“Sometimes that can be no treatment; or a lifestyle change rather than medication. The Choosing Wisely campaign encourages consumers to discuss four questions with their health professional: Do I really need this test or procedure? What are the risks? Are there simpler, safer options? What happens if I don’t do anything?”

Choosing Wisely supports amendment of the Therapeutics Products Bill to prohibit direct to consumer advertising of prescription medicines.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland